1 September 2004
Lest we forget the lofty ideals and ambitious targets that circulated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development two years ago, a wide-ranging follow-up conference takes place from 1 to 4 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The Johannesburg +2 Sustainable Development Conference will see leaders from government, business and the NGO sector from around the continent taking stock of the progress made since thousands of delegates descended on Johannesburg in 2002 to hammer out the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals.
Johannesburg+2 will incorporate a national sustainable development conference, the Business Growth and Opportunities for Africa Exhibition, a best practices in sustainable development exhibition, an African business conference, doing business in Africa workshops, and sustainable development round tables. Around 5 000 visitors and 150 exhibitors are expected at the show.
Said Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism director-general Crispian Olver: “The anniversary offers South Africa the opportunity to assess the implementation of the Johannesburg targets, refine our sustainable development vision and framework, and mobilise key stakeholders and partners behind this vision.
“It will also provide a platform to enhance dialogue on progress and challenges in implementation.”
The Johannesburg Programme of Action endorsed the Millennium Declaration goals of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015, halving the number of people without clean water and adequate sanitation by 2015, curbing the loss of biodiversity by 2010, securing the safe use of chemicals by 2020, and restoring fish stocks by 2015.
With the focus on Africa this time, the conference will explore business growth and opportunities for the continent as well as host workshops on doing business here.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is a key supporter of the mini summit. DTI director-general Alistair Ruiters said the conference would provide opportunities for the promotion of intra-African trade, one of the goals of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).
As host and therefore a major player at the World Summit two years ago, South Africa’s own sustainable development initiatives were placed under the spotlight. The conference gives the country an opportunity to revisit its own commitment to sustainable development and assess its own progress – as well as the progress of other countries – since then.
Themes for the conference and exhibition include: water and sanitation, human settlements, energy, agriculture and food security, technology, natural resource management, regional development and Nepad.
The conference will also give Johannesburg another opportunity to showcase itself and its offerings to a large audience. When the city successfully pulled off the World Summit two years ago – the largest global event ever hosted here – the country entered the big league for other major international events.
It gave the country (and Joburg in particular) a competitive edge with regard to the meetings, incentives, conference and events (MICE) market.
“The World Summit may well have contributed to the success of the 2010 soccer bid”, said Blessing Manale, director of sustainable development co-ordination in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
“And the fact that we are hosting the Pan African Parliament seat at Gallagher Estate can also be attributed to this. Joburg now needs to market itself as ‘summit city’.”
Former chief executive of the Johannesburg Summit Company and executive chairman of Matemeku Investments, Moss Mashishi, said the conference aims to get communities to participate and be informed of the latest developments regarding sustainable development.
“It is importance that we, together with our partners, do not lose momentum on progress made during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development”, Mashishi said.
For more information on the conference, contact Marang Setshwaelo on (011) 234 8650 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Blessing Manale from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on (012) 310 3457 or e-mail email@example.com.